Former Virginia Governor Gerald L. Baliles passes away at 79

WTKR – Former Governor of Virginia Gerald L. Baliles has passed away at the age of 79, according to remarks sent to News 3 by Sen. Mark Warner.

Gerald L. Baliles

“In his four years as Governor, Gerald Baliles was a steady hand steering the Commonwealth, making important investments in transportation that Virginians are still benefiting from today. He was also a good friend. I join all Virginians in celebrating his service to the Commonwealth. We will miss him.”

Baliles was a member of the Democratic Party and served as the 65th Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1986-1990. Before being governor, Baliles served as Virginia’s attorney general and in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Born in Stuart, Virginia, Baliles would go on to attend the Wesleyan University and a law degree from the University of Virginia.

The 79-year-old was a champion of protecting the Chesapeake Bay.

After retiring in 2014 from the University of Virginia, Governor Baliles and his wife Robin divide their time between their home in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Baliles ancestral home in Patrick County, Virginia, according to his biography on UVA’s bicentennial website.

“Like elected officials on both sides of the aisle, along with the citizens of all walks, I believe Governor Baliles tackled and tried in earnest to solve, head on, real problems affecting the people of Virginia,” said Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox. ” He focused on the practical needs of Virginians such as transportation improvements and economic development.  He also championed higher education and led the charge in the Commonwealth against illiteracy.”

Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia be flown at half-staff over the state Capitol and all local, state, and federal buildings and grounds for the next 30 days in respect and memory of former Governor Gerald L. Baliles.

“I am deeply sorry to hear of the passing of Governor Gerald Baliles. While his accomplishments in office were, and remain, impressive, I will miss him for the kind ear and the sound advice he was always willing to give to me,” said Northam about the passing of Baliles.

More information to come on the passing of Baliles.

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